OSCPA staff report
Ohio paid nearly $3.4 billion dollars in overpayments to people getting unemployment since March of 2020, the state Department of Job and Family Services said this week.
That total does not include paid claims that were fraudulent.
As a reminder, businesses or clients who received a non-fraudulent unemployment overpayment through no fault of their own are eligible to request a waiver to avoid repaying those funds. Money will also be returned to claimants who already repaid an overpayment but qualify for the waiver.
ODJFS has been notifying individuals by mail or electronically when they are potentially eligible for the waiver and are providing them with detailed instructions for how to apply. Once system programming is complete, the waiver applications will be reviewed, and approved waivers honored. Notifications are being sent to claimants in the traditional unemployment program and the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. If approved, all portions of overpayments could be waived, including the supplemental weekly $600 and $300 payments that were previously available as a result of federal stimulus legislation.
More than 700,000 people received non-fraudulent overpayments: 73,000 are in traditional unemployment, and 630,000 are in the PUA program. Of that population who have been notified that they can apply for waivers, only 18% have already done so to date.
Those who received Trade, SharedWork Ohio, and other types of unemployment benefits may also be eligible for waiver.
In another development, Ohio’s Office of Budget and Management (OBM) initiated payment on Aug. 30 to officially pay off the approximately $1.47 billion the state has borrowed from the federal government to cover unemployment compensation costs during the pandemic. Ohio is using a portion of its American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to pay off the loan, as required by OSCPA-supported H.B. 168.
Paying off the unemployment loan by Sept. 6 prevents a 50% increase on Ohio employers’ federal unemployment payroll taxes in 2022 – totaling an estimated savings of over $650 million for employers over the next three years.